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VIDEO: HI-SEAS Mission VI Crew to Enter ‘Mars’

February 14, 2018, 1:39 PM HST (Updated February 14, 2018, 3:18 PM)
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An international crew of four will enter the Hawaiʻi Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) habitat on Thursday afternoon, Feb. 15, to begin the latest mission in a series of long-term isolation studies aimed at deep-space exploration.

Led by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, the eight-month mission involves four astronaut-like crewmembers hailing from Australia, Korea, Scotland and Slovakia. The crew is being described as the “most international” crew in HI-SEAS history. They include:

  • Sukjin Han: an assistant professor in economics at University of Texas at Austin;
  • Calum Hervieu: an astrophysicist and systems engineer from rural Scotland;
  • Lisa Stojanovski: a professional science communicator who manages the Australian chapter of the Space Generation Advisory Council;
  • Michaela Musilova: an astrobiologist with a research focus on life in extreme environments.

HI-SEAS Habitat on Mauna Loa. Courtesy photo.

“This is the first time we’ve selected a crew that includes members from four different countries of origin,” said HI-SEAS Principal Investigator and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Professor, Kim Binsted. “As HI-SEAS is an international collaboration between researchers, mission support and crew, it is great to see this diversity reflected in the Mission VI crew,” said Binsted.“For humans to successfully undertake a long-duration spaceflight to Mars, it will require a global collaboration, and so it seems appropriate that our Mission VI begins with this spirit of internationalism.”

The crew began pre-mission briefings and training on Wednesday, Feb. 7, joined by scientific researchers and mission staff to prepare for their isolated stay inside the dome-shaped habitat on the lower slopes of Mauna Loa.

The NASA-funded study will be the sixth so far in the series, and aims to determine the requirements and protocols for selecting individuals and teams for long-duration human space exploration missions.

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Mission VI will task crewmembers with geological fieldwork and life system management during their eight-month stay. The mission will happen under isolated conditions mimicking those of a planetary surface exploration mission. Communications will be delayed by 20 minutes in each direction to simulate the time delay experienced between Earth and Mars. In addition to undergoing close monitoring by researchers, the crew’s daily routine will involve preparing meals made from shelf-stable ingredients, regular exercise, and research and fieldwork aligned with NASA’s planetary exploration directives.

HI-SEAS Mission VI will continue a series of successful eight- and 12-month simulated space missions that place HI-SEAS among other analog facilities capable of supporting long-duration research in confined environments such as Mars500, Concordia and the International Space Station.

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